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2024 Ordinands

Joseph N. Dickan, SJ

Province: USA West

Hometown: Long Beach, California

Highlights of Jesuit Formation:

  1. Taught math at Bellarmine College Preparatory School in San Jose, California.
  2. Studied the Maronite liturgy at Holy Spirit University of Kaslik and Arabic at the Saifi Institute for Arabic Language in Beirut, Lebanon.
  3. Served as a deacon at Our Lady of the Cedars of Lebanon Maronite Church in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.

Post-Ordination: Will pursue a Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the Boston College Clough School of Theology and Ministry

Education:
Bachelor’s degree, neuroscience, University of California, Los Angeles; Master of Divinity, Boston College Clough School of Theology and Ministry

Joseph after being ordained to the diaconate in October 2023 in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts

Biography:
Joseph N. Dickan, SJ, earned a bachelor’s in neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles. While in college, he read the Spiritual Exercises and participated in an ecumenical prayer group, which were both instrumental in his faith development. After earning his degree, Joseph worked for a year in advancement at St. Paul High School in Santa Fe Springs, California. In the summer of 2012 he participated in the “Six Weeks a Jesuit” program, tutoring at Washington Jesuit Academy in the nation’s capital. He entered the Jesuit novitiate in 2013 and completed first studies at Fordham University in the Bronx, New York, where he studied philosophical resources. Joseph then taught math at Bellarmine College Preparatory School in San Jose, California. Next, he studied the Maronite liturgy at Holy Spirit University of Kaslik in Beirut, Lebanon. While in Beirut, he also studied Arabic at the Saifi Institute for Arabic Language. Joseph earned his Master of Divinity degree from the Boston College Clough School of Theology and Ministry. He was ordained a deacon in October 2023. After ordination, Joseph will pursue a Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the Boston College Clough School of Theology and Ministry.

What has surprised you about Jesuit life?
One of the big preconceptions I had while discerning my vocation was about entering into Jesuit community life. It was really a question of figuring out if I would fit the mold of a Jesuit. The more I’ve been in Jesuit communities, I’ve found that there really isn’t one mold of a Jesuit, that there is such a diversity in interests and backgrounds.

We all have our quirks, we have lots of different personalities — introverts, extroverts, different ways of relating to each other. And at the same time, in all that diversity, I’m surrounded with really good people who really strive to encourage one another and live together in this common mission. And I think that our common values as Jesuits really tie us together and help to bring all that diversity into a unity.

Joseph (far right) with fellow Jesuit novices on the day he pronounced first vows in the Society

What was one particularly meaningful experience you had during your formation, and why was it meaningful to you?
One of the great gifts of this life, especially over the course of formation, is that we end up living in a lot of different places. I taught at a high school for a few years as part of my regency and had a teaching mentor there. And now that I’m in Boston, I just had the chance as a deacon to go and baptize her son. Getting to watch her and her husband grow their family over the years and being able to accompany them and pray with them, that’s been a great gift to me. And they have also accompanied me.

What has been the greatest joy in your Jesuit formation?
My greatest joy has been accompanying friends and family in this life. I’ve found that there is often this profound trust in our relationships because they know that we’re there as friends or as a son or as a cousin, but also as ministers of Christ and the church. And so being able to be there for the baptism of a friend’s child or to pray with people through both the joyful and the challenging times, that’s been a very consoling gift for me. It always reminds me why I became a Jesuit.